Dancing babies want music to be free



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At a hackers convention in 1984, Stewart Brand famously declared that “information wants to be free,” a slightly out-of-context contention that became one of the founding principals of the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF). Intentionally or not, the founding editor of “The Whole Earth Catalogue” — a newsstand publication that was most definitely not distributed for free — set in motion a steady stream of intellectual property lawsuits that continues to this day.

Thankfully, one of the more protracted lawsuits, the EFF-initiated Lenz v. Universal, has finally come to a conclusion. The Universal Music Group has announced that the decade-long legal dispute over an ostensibly cute video, in which a baby dances to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy,” has reached a settlement.

As is often the case in these instances, the legal settlement’s details — to say nothing of its long-term ramifications — remain unclear. But for the moment at least, those who cherish the First Amendment right of toddlers to bounce up and down to copyrighted music can rest easy in the knowledge that there’s plenty more where that one came from.


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